How George Mason graduate Paul Laudiero turned his ‘Shit Rough Drafts’ into a book deal.
By Tim Regan
Rough drafts can be awful, which is why many authors dread them. At best, they’re a stepping stone. At worst, they’re a brick wall. But to 23-year-old George Mason graduate Paul Laudiero, they’re an art form.
He’s the creator of “Shit Rough Drafts,” a popular Tumblr that poses a curious question: What did famous works of literature look like before they were published? One post lists alternate titles to “The Great Gatsby,” as if Fitzgerald had burned through “Coolest” and “Chubby Chunky” before settling on “Great.” Another suggests the original conflict in “The Most Dangerous Game” was based around “Scrabble.” Laudiero finds most of his inspiration in absurdity; the weirder, the better. “I immediately imagine, ‘What if the main character was a dum-dum?’” But the ideas don’t always jump out at him, and not surprisingly, he says writing can be a painstaking process. “I spend a lot of time on each one. They’re so stupid an absurd, but I do have a lot of rough drafts of ‘Shit Rough Drafts’.”
In April, Laudiero’s project won indie publisher Chronicle Books’ “Great Tumblr Book Search,” a contest that landed him $300 and the chance to have his blog considered for book publication. While talking with Chronicle and gaining an agent along the way, Laudiero’s concept was pitched and subsequently accepted. “I’m supremely grateful,” he says, adding that “having an agent is the coolest thing in the world.” The book is slated for a spring 2014 release date.—Tim Regan
Follow Laudiero on his blog Shit Rough Drafts at shitroughdrafts.com. Warning this blog may contain the salty language of a seasoned author, NSFW.